Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gay Married Military Benefits

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has finally released guidance to gay & lesbian married couples seeking benefits to which they are entitled to under current laws & regulations. The announcement was made after working closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) following the Windsor decision at the Supreme Court. However another provision of the law requires that gay & lesbian married couples must reside in a state that recognizes marriages equality. This means that gay & lesbian married couples applying for their earned VA benefits will now be processed provided the couple lives in a marriage equality state. Legally married gay & lesbian couples residing in a non-marriage equality state will not have their applications processed at this time. Ariana Bostian-Kentes Military Partners & Families Coalition President & Co-Founder stated, “The released guidance is an exciting step forward by the VA & we acknowledge their commitment to the equal treatment of all Veterans and their families. While we celebrate this victory for equality, we remain well aware of the work we have ahead.” Jeff Mueller OS-SLDN’s Co-Chairman of the Board added, “This is a great step towards equality for all of our lesbian, gay & bisexual veterans. They deserve to be treated fairly & equally for the service they gave to our country. Anything less would not live up to the President’s demand that we take care of our veterans. We still have work to do to bring equality to all of our lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender veterans & servicemembers & we will continue to work, alongside partner organizations, to gain this equality.”
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